The University of California held its Pro Day on March 11th, at Memorial Stadium. Scouts and team personnel from all 32 teams gathered to watch 12 Golden Bears’ players participate in the organized function. The 12 players who participated on Tuesday were: DeSean Jackson, Lavelle Hawkins, Thomas DeCoud, Brian De La Puente, Justin Forsett, Mike Gibson, Brandon Hampton, Robert Jordan, Andrew Larson, Matt Malele, Craig Stevens and Greg Van Hoesen.
The assembled conglomerate was most interested in DeSean Jackson and Lavelle Hawkins.
Jackson, who is considered to be a top-20 draft pick in this April’s draft, had an outstanding showing at the Combine, despite measuring in at 5-foot-9 and 169 pounds. He ran a 4.35 in the 40 and recorded a 10-foot broad jump. Jackson didn’t run the 40 on Tuesday, although he participated in positional drills.
Former San Francisco 49ers WR Jerry Rice was in attendance supporting Jackson at the Pro Day. Rice has been Jackson’s personal trainer this offseason.
Hawkins takes a handoff against Washington.
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Hawkins had a tremendous week of practice and an even better game at the Senior Bowl and really elevated his stock going into the Scouting Combine. But after running a disappointing 4.53 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, Hawkins had the most to prove on Tuesday. With all eyes watching, Hawkins got his time down to a 4.48 and looked smooth in positional drills.
Cal also has another receiver, Robert Jordan, who’s gaining momentum this offseason after a great finish to his senior year. Jordan wasn’t invited to the Combine, but sparkled on Tuesday with a blazing 40-time of 4.44. Jordan displayed sure hands in positional drills and ran smooth routes. Entering the Pro Day, Jordan was considered a prospect who would likely go undrafted. But after Tuesday’s performance, Jordan is moving into late round consideration.
Other players worth noting on this day were FS Thomas DeCoud, TE Craig Stevens and RB Justin Forsett.
DeCoud and Stevens didn’t run the 40 on Tuesday, but participated in positional drills. Stevens had an eye-opening workout at the Combine showing strength (27 reps of 225 pounds), speed (4.59 40-time) and sure hands. DeCoud ran well at the Combine and was timed at a 4.50 in the 40.
On the other hand, Forsett didn’t run at the Combine, he only participated in the broad and vertical jump. Tuesday was Forsett’s turn to show his speed, but he fell short and only managed a 4.59 in the 40.
DeSean Jackson Scouting Report
Strengths: He’s a dynamic offensive weapon with game-breaking ability. He has quick feet and gets vertical instantly. He has good hands and displays tremendous athleticism adjusting to errant passes. He’s elusive after the catch and can take it to the house on any play. He’s an outstanding punt returner and has the ability to provide instant offense on special teams.
Weaknesses: He lacks size and isn’t a physical receiver. He struggles against bigger defenders who jam and stall his progression at the line of scrimmage. He’s a big-play threat, but he doesn’t break initial contact and is easily brought to the ground. He’s still developing his game as a receiver and can be inconsistent.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.